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Images: Aytaç Özgül ©

Artificial reefs (ARs) have been used for many years to protect marine biodiversity, improve fisheries and diving tourism, and prevent illegal fishing. Evaluating the ecological functions of ARs and assessing whether fish species have high site fidelity is an important factor that will determine AR success. Moreover, understanding the movements and home ranges of fish provides valuable information to develop suitable fisheries management strategies, particularly regarding protection within ARs.

In this study, we applied a fine-scale ultrasonic telemetry system (VPS; Vemco, VR2W Positioning System) to investigate the short-term movements of several fish species in the artificial reefs on the Northern Aegean Sea, Turkey.

During the project, we tagged 80 individuals of seven species – Sciaena umbra, Scorpaena scrofa, Scorpaena porcus, Sparus aurata, Diplodus vulgaris, Diplodus puntazzo and Pomatomus saltatrix and tracked them from 3 to 18 month (dependent on species) in artificial reefs.

It was found that observed fish in the artificial reef zone displayed different behavior and movement models depending on the species. It was also determined that these behaviors differed between day and night.

This study contributes to measures of performance of artificial reef and can facilitate our understanding of interactions between fish, artificial reef, and fisheries. The results offer useful approaches to help policy makers make appropriate decisions for sustainable fisheries in artificial reefs.

Contact person: Aytaç Özgül